ProVol Crossborder

About the project

Project number: 2016-1-DE02-KA204-003297
Duration: 01.09.2016 – 31.08.2018
Funding program: Erasmus+  KA204 – Strategic Partnerships for adult education

Volunteering holds an essential place in society as well as in the economy. In the recent crises Europe has been facing, volunteers play a central role when critical gaps are created by political weakness and limitations in finances, aid, and cuts in social and public services for vulnerable people. They step in and provide necessary social and public services and aid to people in need, support stranded refugees, assist in rescue and disaster services, and engage in a lot of community work. Therefore, volunteering is an essential act of citizenship; it makes a significant contribution to building a strong and cohesive society, combating social exclusion, and is an important contributor to the delivery of social and public services.

The problem is that most volunteers and small non-profit organizations (NPOs) working with volunteers are not trained in crisis and project management, and for many, it’s their first experience with humanitarian aid and social services. They take on responsibilities for themselves and try to coordinate among themselves. Additionally, volunteering also has a positive impact on the volunteers themselves, such as social recognition, self-esteem, meeting new people, and gaining know-how, expertise, and new skills. As many of these skills and work experiences are not only helpful in volunteering-related activities but are also useful in paid work (such as skills like time or project management, communication, PR work, and others), civic engagement can be seen as an important and powerful source of informal learning that constitutes not only a potential way into active citizenship but also into improved employability as it offers free training, career enhancement, and work-related references.

However, usually, these skills are acquired incidentally, occasionally, or indirectly, as most volunteer training is only related to the specific objectives of the volunteer position, and therefore are usually very specific. What is missing are more general trainings for skills development to be more professional and efficient in volunteering. This is also a problem many NGOs are facing: due to the financial crisis, most NGOs receive even less money than before, even though their services are needed even more, and their (economic) value is recognized. For this reason, in order to keep adding value to these fields, social organizations and institutions need to work more professionally, efficiently, and effectively, as resources are scarce and tasks are much more complex and challenging.

With these facts in mind, the German partner GLL has developed the training concept “Mit Kompetenz im Ehrenamt (Professional volunteering)” especially for volunteers and coordinators of volunteers. This program aims at promoting professional skills and competences, such as those in the fields of team or project management. Although these skills should primarily help people to perform their voluntary work more economically and efficiently, training participants also benefit in terms of developing crucial employability competences. This ProVol program has been pilot-tested successfully in the UK, Romania, and the Czech Republic with various target groups and has been further developed in a first version of a “European format”. The former partners from Germany and the Czech Republic want to take this former project forward and have formed a new partnership with known and experienced partner organizations in their neighboring countries Austria and Slovakia.

ProVol Crossborder had 4 main objectives:

  1. to disseminate the European format of the training program “Professional Volunteering” to neighboring countries in central Europe, improve it and disseminate it across Europe.
  2. to cross other “borders”: people with learning or mental disabilities as well as migrants and refugees with insufficient second language skills usually are not engaged in volunteering and therefor miss the opportunities volunteering offers. In order to change this partners will develop and pilot-test an “easy language” version of our training to increase the rate volunteering of these disadvantaged target group and empower them to become more active citizens in the community they live.
  3. to set up a professional ProVol-network/consortium and ProVol-“franchise”-system in order to deliver a high quality volunteer train-the-trainer program across Europe beyond project funding.
  4. to improve crossborder volunteering between the four participating neighboring countries and joint volunteer projects.

Additionally partners aim to strengthen volunteering in their respective countries by qualifying volunteers and volunteer coordinators through professional trainings, and their NPOs will profit from efficiently working employees and volunteers. Thus, the lack of resources is addressed by progressing effectiveness. Also the individual benefit for ProVol-participant is a vital: they gain valuable skills and expertise, enhance their employablity and become active citizens.

Project Results

To this end, the following activities were carried out:

    • a European version of the training manual in English, German, Czech, and Slovak
    • an “easy language” ProVol training in English, German, Czech and Slovak
    • 4 x multiplier session (one in each country)
    • 5 train-the-trainer-trainings (one joint international one, and one in Austria and Slovakia, and one easy language training in DE and CZ)
    • Dissemination activities (e.g. workshop at a Volonteurope conference, diverse workshops on regional, national level, open resource website, distribution of printed manuals, counselling of different NGOs etc.)


About the partnership

“ProVol Crossborder” was a transnational project between Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria and was funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the EU. 

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